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New content, consolidated content, and must-have changes push Final Fantasy XIV forward
Square Enix has blessed the Final Fantasy XIV community with its pre-Stormblood patch notes. While a lot of the content has not been discussed in great detail — as content could spoil the game’s story and more exciting enhancements — the patch notes sufficiently demonstrate some must-have changes to the game.
Luckily, to save our readers some time, we’ve highlighted the best details from the patch notes, and the hardcore enthusiasts can read the full list of changes online.
Addressing the elephant in the room
Some of the changes are expected, such as new ways to parse through the available dungeons to the game, but even some of the common-sense stuff is surprising because it shows a renewed dedication to making the game more accessible to veterans and beginners.
One such example is increased inventory size. Even though Heavensward added three new classes to the game, there wasn’t a huge change done to inventory management when Final Fantasy XIV’s first expansion was released. Square Enix has addressed concerns this time around, and has increased inventory sizes by about 30 per cent or more. This includes not only the regular inventory, but also the dedicated equipment inventories.
This change has the ability to help gamers who are spending their hard earned cash on extra inventory space through the additional retainer subscription, as now they don’t have to keep their extra gear sets in their retainer inventories — meaning they don’t need that extra subscription.
More common sense changes include the consolidation of all Heavensward end-game currency, Tomestones of Lore and Scripture, under the base game’s Tomestones of Poetics. Meaning gamers playing through their first attempt at level 60 will be able to have the best gear by the time they get that last bit of experience.
Content, content, and more content
For dedicated fans and newcomers, Square Enix has also previewed a lot of content in the form of dungeons and trials — fast-paced, intense battles against iconic characters from the series. While this content makes up the most of the changes, it’s worth noting that it’s only the tip of the iceberg in Stormblood.
Final Fantasy XIV is well-known for its consistent content updates. With Heavensward and A Realm Reborn gamers expected free content to be released every four to six months, and content packs included not only dungeons, but episodic advancements to Final Fantasy XIV’s cinematic storyline.
Based on what’s included in the patch notes, along with what is showcased in Stormblood’s launch trailer, gamers can expect a slew of content to keep them busy while they wait for the next chapter of content to become available. In addition to the main scenario quests, Square Enix has renewed its commitment to creating an immersive world by announcing the inclusion of side quests.
Streamlining the game for the ages
One of the saddest parts about the release of Stormblood is the end-of-life of the PlayStation 3 version of Final Fantasy XIV. With new enhancements comes an increased need for intense processing power that the PlayStation can’t keep up with.
But Square Enix has demonstrated it is committed to new audiences by announcing enhancements to make the game a bit more streamlined for newcomers. For example, in pre-Stormblood content, gamers were expected to run multiple classes before deciding on their main job. Stormblood eliminates this levelling requirement, and players can put all of their time into one class.
The affinity system — where players needed to level up additional classes to get useful skills for their main class — has also been changed, so now in order to have the full experience, newcomers only have to level up their main class. While these details have been known for a while, the patch notes also show other details. One such example is the removal of attribute points and enhancements to the DPS potential of the healer role.
The former makes the game less confusing by removing the need to micro-manage player stats, and the latter makes it easier to focus on the new healer abilities. With Stormblood, healers gain have a lot more to focus on while healing — such as the new White Mage’s lilly feature — so Square did a favour to its fans to limit the need of balancing cleric stance (attacker stance) and healer stance.
Enhancements such as these make it easier for players to focus on their primary role, rather than having to fill the gaps in the party makeup.
Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood officially releases June 20, but customers that preordered the game can download the patch immediately and start playing when the servers go live on June 16. Stay tuned for our full review of Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood in the coming weeks.